While music in India is typically associated with Ravi Shankar’s sitar and AR Rahman’s Jai Ho, change has begun to brew in the streets of India, leading the movement towards a whole new sound. The lndian independent music scene has evolved tremendously over the last few years, finding a wider and more accepting audience in music festivals and lounges supporting live music. Bombay Bassment is one such band which burst onto the scene in 2010 and has rapidly cultivated a cult following.
Bombay Bassment is a 4-piece electronic band founded by drummer Levin Mendes and bassist Ruell Barretto, later joined by MC/Rapper Bobkat and DJ Chandu. They describe their sound as “…an upbeat blend of Hip-Hop, Raggae/Dub, Dunk and Drum & Bass.” They recently won the Mumbai round of the Hard Rock Café Battle of Bands, dropped their first music video (currently airing on VH-1) and have been performing non-stop across the country. It looks like Bombay Bassment is here to stay!
How did you guys meet and decide to form a band?
Levin: Back in 2009, Ruell and I started out as a 2 piece outfit with a clear intention that we’re going to be a pure drum & bass band with some heavy basslines and smooth solo’s. 6 months down the line, I expressed our need to add an additional element to our gig to our manager Jayesh, who hooked us up with DJ Chandu & MC Bobkat. That’s how we all met, jammed & we now finally have a product that is a combination of all our musical expressions.
Who came up with the name Bombay Bassment?
L: I did. It was either Bombay Bassment (BOMB) or Bombay Maternity Ward (BMW). It’s clear which one of these was instantly rejected.
Who writes the lyrics for your songs? What influences your songwriting?
Bobkat: I do most of the writing, and influences could come from anywhere, from a band member’s suggestion to what I feel the first time I hear a beat or sample.
Which musicians do you admire the most?
B: I love many of the old school rappers, Nas, Rakim, and some of the newer ones who sound funky, jazzy etc, but not electronic or pop sounding, J Cole, Jay Electronica and Odd Future.
L: Steven Wilson, Zack De La Rocha, Gavin Harrison and Randolph Correa.
Chandu: Bob Marley, Arrested Development
Ruell: RHCP and Bob Marley
What do you think about the current Indie music scene in India?
L: The current scene is bright. I can’t even tell you the variety that bands have to offer. It’s amazing. We just need a buyer to make the future scene brighter.
Describe the best gig you’ve had.
B: At this joint called High Spirits in Pune, the crowd really knows what live music is and they appreciate it. We also loved performing at the I.C. carnival with Apache Indian for 3,500 people. I mean, how many guys ever get to meet their teenage heroes, let alone perform with them?
Who would be part of your dream audience?
B & L: Hmm, tough one. We already had Apache give us daps for our performance, so we can’t demand too much in a lifetime now, can we?
Aside from music, what are your other interests?
B: I love media, film & video production.
L: Travel & Photography
R: Collecting HATS!!!
What are your goals for the near future?
B: We hope to get a wider audience in India to accept hip hop and respect the genre.
L: The idea is to continue making music, showcase it live, release it from time to time, collaborate with different artists, tour different cities; basically do anything & everything to get our music out of the bassment & into your shelf.
For more information on Bombay Bassment, please visit